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Washington gains jobs; jobless rate up

Washington gained 5,000 jobs in July, even while the state jobless rate rose to 8.5 percent in July from 8.3 percent the previous month, the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. unemployment rate for July was 8.3 percent, up slightly from 8.2 percent in June.

Individual county unemployment rates will be released next week by the state.

The rise in the unemployment rate is mostly because of a 9,700-person decline in the size of the labor force, according to the state. In addition, the number of jobless state residents seeking work increased by about 4,200.

Washington’s job figures showed positive growth from one year ago; July 2011’s jobless rate was 9.3 percent. And since one year ago, Washington has gained roughly 57,000 jobs, based on data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The “other industries” sector accounted for a large share of the July job gain. That sector includes equipment repair, religious activities, dry cleaning, funeral services, pet care and dating services.

The Employment Security Department said sectors losing jobs in July were state government (1,900 jobs), construction (200 jobs), and professional and business services (4,600). State manufacturers are clawing back. Manufacturing employment grew by an estimated 14,100 jobs over the past 12 months. From June to July state manufacturers added about 1,600 jobs, the ESD reported.